Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
You might not find Brumby adoption less strict - I know some organisations require you to have a certain size fence, type of fencing etc. I looked at CSU and their Equine Centre a few years ago, when I was looking at unis, and I vaguely remember them having certain requirements - if your horse in unbroken or young you may not be able to keep it there.
Its great that you mean to keep the horse the rest of your life - but at your age you are not remotely in the position where you can hope to guarantee that. I'm sorry, and I don't mean to say you are less responsible or anything, its just that you don't have the means to guarantee a future for another animal, much less a horse, so many things change in life. For that reason I would very strongly suggest when you buy a horse you buy one that if you need to, will be able to sold on to a good home.
If I were you I would seriously look at the Standardbred Association. Most of the horses in Australia that end up at the slaughterhouse are racehorses, both Thoroughbred and Standardbred. The Standardbred Association sets you up with owners who cannot keep their Standardbred but they don't want to send it to the slaughterhouse if they can help it. When you join they will try and set you up with a suitable horse, around the age and height you want, and some are even broken to saddle. You can go and look the horses and if you find a suitable one the Association will give you the horse on a year free lease. Provided that the horse passes vet checks over the course of the year, at the end they sign over the horse to you. All up, with membership to the association and the adoption fee, I think it is under $100. If the horse is unsuitable you can return it to be rehomed. You can be located anywhere around NSW.
If its your first horse, which it sounds as though it is, I would be very cautious about what horse you get. Its a steep learning curve going from riding lessons to owning your own horse. Its a nice thought to save a horse, but make sure you don't risk your own safety while doing so.